Optimize Your EDI Processes While Gaining Visibility of Your EDI Data
EDI mapping is one of the most technical aspects of managing your EDI data. However, EDI mapping is necessary because it leverages your enterprise resources planning (ERP) investment while expediting the communication between trading partners, and prevents a lot of ongoing manual data entry by automatically plugging data into the right fields.
EDI mapping effectively:
- Organizes segments of EDI data in a user friendly format
- Inputs the appropriate data type in its related field
- Prevents errors associated with manual data entry
- Automatically creates EDI compliant data in the appropriate EDI protocol
EDI mapping is what it sounds like: EDI maps map EDI data segments into a preferred format and/or placeholder in your ERP. EDI maps are customizable ways of managing incoming and outgoing EDI data. It’s the difference between having to sift through several lines of flat file data to find vital information and finding the information at a glance. Moreover, for outgoing EDI data, the right map will grab data from a document (like an invoice or purchase order) and convert the document to EDI compliant data.
The EDI Mapping Process
Before an application can read an EDI message, the data requires translation from its EDI format to the application’s format. In this process, the EDI data is translated from its original EDI transaction set and organized in the appropriate database tables of the receiving application.
Each translation from a particular EDI transaction set to application file requires its own EDI map. In theory, it sounds simple, but the process is often time-consuming because of the wide variety of data elements and tables that application files may have. Plus, this process is a requirement for each inbound and outbound version of a purchase order, invoice, and every other type of document your business exchanges through EDI.
However, an Alpha EDI OptiPac saves you the hassle creating EDI maps and stores the required procedures for automated use.
For example, if you were sending an invoice from your Infor VISUAL ERP using an Outbound OptiPac:
- You create your invoice in your Infor VISUAL ERP
- The stored procedure from your OptiPac exports the data from Infor VISUAL into an SQL Server database
- Another stored procedure from your OptiPac then organizes the data segments from the SQL database into a CSV format and converts it into an EDI data format
Without EDI mapping, it would be impossible for data to transmit seamlessly between various brands of software while remaining organized properly.
At a glance, EDI messages are electronic versions of paper documents that businesses have used for decades. Since EDI data translates into universal EDI standards, you would think that EDI mapping would be a one-time process that worked forever.
The problem is when you’re ready to do business with the big companies that all manufacturers want to work with (Amazon, Target, etc.), you find out that each company has their own set of unique rules for EDI exchange. In other words, you have to follow their custom EDI compliance guidelines to send and receive business documents to ensure the data is organized correctly in their proprietary software systems.
The good news is that most of these companies do provide an EDI implementation guide for you to use, so you have some basic direction. The bad news is you will probably need to hire someone to do the EDI mapping for your if you lack the technical EDI experience required to understand what their guide is telling you to do.
To put this in perspective, Target’s implementation guide for Advance Ship Notices alone is 41 pages. That’s not even considering all of the other types of documents that you will need to exchange.
The Cost of EDI Mapping
The investment required depends largely on what kind of mapping you will need completing and how much of it you will have to manually do yourself.
Basic EDI translation software can range from as low as $1,500 to over $15,000. Whereas, a fully-integrated enterprise EDI system can cost anywhere from $25,000 to over $150,000. You also have to consider the ongoing maintenance costs for support and upgrades, which varies by the software you choose.
Plus, there’s the many, many hours EDI mapping saves your company by providing you immediate visibility to crucial data from your trading partners and not having to create a document and then manually converting it to transaction sets. Even if you’re already familiar with the technical aspects of EDI, conducting the mapping process is a time-consuming endeavor that requires high attention to detail.
On the other hand, you could hire professional EDI services to do the mapping for you. The advantage to doing so is the assurance that the data mapping is performed correctly without having to lift a finger yourself. However, the downside is that these services can cost up to $250 per hour, which often exceeds the one-time cost of data mapping software.
A Smarter EDI Mapping Solution
To save time and money, more businesses are implementing pre-designed mapping packs (OptiPacs) that are configured specifically for the companies you need to be compliant with. These OptiPacs integrate right into your Infor VISUAL ERP and don’t require any human intervention beyond the simple installation.
At Alpha EDI, we offer easy-to-use EDI OptiPacs that allow you to get compliant with major companies in minutes.
The Advantages of EDI OptiPacs from Alpha EDI:
- Cost less than EDI translation and mapping software
- Preconfigured so you don’t have to do any of the technical tasks
- Seamless integration with your Infor VISUAL ERP
- Free updates for 1 year
You can download the software right from our website and be compliant within five minutes – all for a fraction of buying EDI translation software and doing the mapping yourself.
Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers!
Our team of EDI specialists is happy to answer any of your questions. We can help with outsourcing your EDI service, questions on EDI mapping and data translation, and any other EDI related questions and concerns.